Monday, November 28, 2011

Custom Built In Carroll Gardens: Femenella Guitars

Lou Femenella's basement studio in Carroll Gardens is the kind of place that would make serious guitar players swoon. Against one wall are some of the beautiful vintage guitars that Femenella has collected over the years. Among them are some of his own custom-built electric guitars, one more stunning than the next.  They are variations on Fender's iconic Stratocaster and Telecaster, the most popular electric guitars ever made.  And on the opposite side of the basement, is the workspace, where Femenella works his magic and builds these beauties.
Everything in Lou Femenella's life seems to have destined him to become a luthier. Firstly, there is his love of music.  He picked up his first guitar at the age of 12 and has played ever since.  Along the way, he learned to repair his own instruments.  Secondly, there is his love of wood.  In his youth, he apprenticed with two German cabinetmakers in Queens, who taught him everything they knew.  He went on to spend more than 35 years in architectural woodworking.
About ten years ago, Femenella began repairing and restoring guitars for friends and fellow musicians.   In conversations with them, he identified a need amongst better players for customized electric guitars that were more affordable than those currently available.  He was determined to fill this niche and succeeded.  His gorgeous, high-quality, all-custom instruments start at $2,500.
Each of Femenella's creations starts with a carefully selected piece of wood.  He uses mostly Southern Swamp Ash or Alder.  The finish is carefully applied in a multi-step process. It takes him about six months to complete a guitar once an order has been placed.
Femenella can be contacted via email at

Below are just some of his guitars, which were recently photographed by Max Kelly of Max Kelly Photography.  Stunning, aren't they?


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